By Holly Desrosier
Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) campus may be closed to the public right now, but the Career Programs department is still gearing up for the summer and fall semesters by actively registering new and returning students who are interested in developing skills and joining the workforce.
The Career Programs division at Craven CC is a diverse curricular area designed to transition students into successful members of the workforce. It encompasses specialties ranging from Mechatronics and Criminal Justice to Early Childhood Education, totaling 21 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 17 diplomas and 56 certificates.
“The diversity and opportunities that each curriculum offers are as unique as the students and faculty members that participate and add to the enriching learning environment,” said Sarah Sawyer, executive director of Career Programs.
Since many of the programs require interactive and participatory lab exercises and hours, it has been a bit challenging to continue with the campuses being closed. Fortunately, faculty members for programs such as Automotive, Welding, Machining and Electronics were able to quickly adopt and utilize virtual learning tools to simulate lab environments and physical training exercises. For example, many Automotive and Transportation Technologies courses adopted an online learning lab system to emulate a 3-D automotive repair shop that can demonstrate skills such as engine and transmission repair and then assess student comprehension through various exercises.
“Other platforms and software technologies are utilized depending upon the curriculum and subject matter,” added Sawyer. “However, faculty are very much looking forward to when the students will be able to be present again in the lab setting—they have been missed!”
Another program in which hands-on training is imperative is Basic Law Enforcement Training, or BLET. This program has been deemed mission critical by the State of North Carolina, meaning they are allowed to keep meeting for training as long as they follow proper safety protocols.
“They are running an evening cohort while practicing safe social-distancing proximity measures and appropriate best-practice guidelines,” said Sawyer. “Career Programs strongly desires to ensure that Craven County is supplied with first responders during a critical time of need. The cohort is scheduled to graduate in June.”
The Career Programs staff members have adapted as well by continuing to work remotely, taking turns staffing the office to adhere with social distancing while assisting students with registration in a variety of career-oriented programs and addressing any questions or concerns.
Even during this chaotic time, the Career Programs faculty and staff want students to know they are not alone and can always reach out if they need a helping hand. They are actively assisting students and can stay in contact by phone or video conference.
“We want our students to know that they will always have a friend in us, an advocate for their success, a listening ear if they need someone to talk with or simply just to be listened to,” said Sawyer.
One benefit of Career Programs is the opportunity to obtain firsthand knowledge through on-the-job training, giving students a deeper understanding of their field of study. Many programs lead to opportunities such as work-based learning, internships and direct-hire, all of which can lead to successful employment. Craven CC is proud to partner with local businesses to provide apprenticeship opportunities including the BSH Apprenticeship Program, as well as the Industrial Systems Technology certificate program through Fleet Readiness Center EAST.
“Our mission is to ‘Think Hire,’ and that is what we ask our students and faculty to emulate on a daily basis here in Career Programs,” said Sawyer.
Anyone interested in registering with Career Programs can contact Sawyer at 252-638-7372 or email@example.com. Those interested in the BLET program beginning Aug. 10 can contact Jim Ward at 252-638-7361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the New Bern Sun Journal on April 29, 2020.